Testimony on stolen patent deals huge blow to Qualcomm’s San Diego infringement case against Apple

“The ongoing Qualcomm v. Apple patent infringement trial in San Diego (Southern District of California) is generally the least interesting part of the earth-spanning dispute between these two companies,” Florian Mueller writes for Foss Patents. “It’s basically an attempt to get a better outcome in a jury trial than Qualcomm achieved in the ITC, where the most experienced Administrative Law Judge and his six bosses appeared to be underwhelmed by a complaint over the same patents-in-suit as in the San Diego case.”

“But there is one aspect of that San Diego case that’s definitely interesting. It’s a perfect example of how truth is sometimes stranger than fiction,” Mueller writes. “If we come from the reasonably safe assumption that Arjuna Sivasithambaresan — who simply abbreviates his last name as ‘Siva’ — testified truthfully under oath in two different fora (ITC and Southern District of California), Qualcomm’s ‘949 patent was filed on an invention a then-Apple employee (now with Google) actually made.”

“In other words, the most reasonable inference from that testimony is that Qualcomm decided to sue Apple over a patent Qualcomm applied for because it learned about the idea from a then-Apple employee,” Mueller writes. “Actually, the situation is even more bizarre: Even though Qualcomm already became aware of this problem in the aforementioned ITC case over the same patents, and decided to drop the ‘949 patent from the ITC case shortly thereafter (most likely for this very reason), Qualcomm nevertheless decided to give it another try in San Diego. “Unbelievable” is not strong enough a word to describe this. Not even remotely. It’s not just that Qualcomm is hardly going to prevail on the ‘949 patent: a story of a stolen patent undermines a plaintiff’s credibility to an extent that’s the next best thing to self-sabotaging the entire case.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sleep tight, Qualcomm extortionists. Sleep tight.

Former Apple engineer says Qualcomm tech was his idea but doesn’t claim inventor status – March 11, 2019
Apple loses star witness Arjuna Siva in Qualcomm trial – March 7, 2019
Apple says Qualcomm stole idea for smartphone boot-up tech from engineer – March 5, 2019
The Qualcomm v. Apple patent jury won’t get these simple, brutally honest instructions – March 5, 2019
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Patently absurd: Qualcomm charges a 5% wireless patent royalty on iPhone repairs – February 26, 2019
German court stays Qualcomm patent infringement suit against Apple; patent-in-suit likely invalid – February 26, 2019
Apple’s workaround for German fake injunction exacerbates Qualcomm’s antitrust woes – February 14, 2019
Apple resumes selling iPhones in Germany, but with only Qualcomm modems – February 14, 2019
South Korean Supreme Court upholds $242 million antitrust judgement against Qualcomm – February 12, 2019
Bad news piles up for Qualcomm in Apple dispute – February 10, 2019
Apple wins damages ruling against Qualcomm – February 5, 2019
U.S. FTC: Evidence is ‘overwhelming’ that Qualcomm engaged in exclusionary, anticompetitive conduct – January 30, 2019
Leaked emails reveal new reason why Apple went to war with Qualcomm – January 18, 2019
Apple’s COO Jeff Williams delivers blistering testimony on Qualcomm’s ‘onerous demands’ – January 15, 2019
Apple was paying Qualcomm over $1 billion per year in licensing – January 15, 2019


  1. “… Qualcomm’s ‘949 patent was filed on an invention a then-Apple employee (now with Google) actually made.”

    No. Not even close. I’ve said it here before: You cannot patent an idea, just a specific implementation of that idea. Siva giving an idea to Qualcomm does not in any way at all make that idea an invention. Siva did not invent anything (at least with regard to this legal case). He had an idea he shared with Qualcomm, and since the U.S. is a First to File country Qualcomm had every legal right to use that idea to file for a patent and perfect that patent.

    The idea was protected as proprietary information of Apple under a Proprietary Information Agreement (aka a Non Disclosure Agreement) between Qualcomm and Apple, and the proprietary nature of the information was disclosed to Qualcomm. (It’s been multiple decades since I’ve seen a PIA/NDA that did not require the disclosing party to alert the receiving party to the proprietary nature of information — and I’ve seen many, many dozens of PIAs/NDAs over those decades. If there was no alert to Qualcomm by an Apple representative within X days of the disclosure by Siva then the PIA/NDA is not applicable anyway.)

    The spin around the idea may work with those who do not understand the true nature of ideas versus patents, but I’m virtually 100% sure that Qualcomm’s lawyers understand this and the judge understands this. (I’m not sure Apple’s lawyers understand this as bad as Apple’s litigation group has been over the last three decades.) I expect Qualcomm and/or the judge to explain the difference to the jury. Then this whole, “It was Apple’s idea.”, thing will die from a legal standpoint.

    1. The United States was not a First-to-File jurisdiction when the patent in question (patent #8,838,949, aka “the ‘949 patent’) was filed in 2010. At the time, the U.S. was still a “First-to-Invent” jurisdiction (as it always had previously been). The change didn’t take effect until March 2013. So, although I didn’t read the specifics of the witness’s testimony, it sounds as though there could be a question of Qualcomm failing to list a possible inventor or to disclose in its filing “prior art” of which it was aware. Note also that the U.S. has a “grace period” where a disclosing prior inventor can still gain priority over the party which filed first. So, it still isn’t a strict “First-To-File” jurisdiction.

      Info about “First-to-Invent” versus “First-to-File”:

      Information about the ‘949 patent:

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